Frequently Asked Questions about Family Camp
(or generally good info you should know!)
Hi! I'm Nate Ransil, Sandy Cove's Director of Program Ministries, and I want to share answers to some questions you may have as you figure out if Family Camp will be a great vacation for your family.
(Spoiler alert: I think it will be! I may be biased…)
Your kids are awesome! You love them, and they are great… You want to play with them, have fun on vacation, and make great memories, right? But a break from each other is good too. When was the last time you had a conversation with your spouse that did not involve a kid interrupting you?
ClubCove to the rescue! For a couple hours each morning and evening, your 4–11 year old kids head for ClubCove, which is kind of like VBS – each group is age graded (4s and 5s, 6s and 7s and so on) so your kids will make friends with kids the same age as they are. They play games, do crafts and activities, learn about Jesus, and have a blast with their leaders. We hire and train staff for ClubCove that your kids will look forward to being with, and that you will want as role models for them!
Kids LOVE ClubCove – and parents might love it even more than the kids do!
Babies are great! Oh – you mean at Family Camp? Well, babies are still great at Family Camp. We already talked about ClubCove for the 4-11 year olds, but 0-3 year olds have their own part of ClubCove that we affectionately refer to as “ClubCrib.” It is available twice a day, same as ClubCove, but it is more about naps, stroller rides and staring at the fish tank, and less about Duck, Duck, Goose! Some of our campers who come every summer started in ClubCrib when they were just two weeks old, and hit all the age groups on their way through ClubCove, and CrossWalk (which we will talk about next time.)
ClubCribbers are not great at the memory verse, but they sure are cute – and we would love to care for yours if you come to Family Camp!
The Chesapeake Lodge has a variety of room types with different bed configurations in them, unlike the king bed / 2 double bed options of a regular hotel. Most of our rooms have a queen bed, and two twin beds, and family rooms have beds for 6. Bottom line is that we will help find a room with the right number of beds for your family – or even two rooms next to each other if your family is big enough!
So it may be a bit cozier than home, but we are “camping,” right?
Whatever you feel like you want to do… (“gosh!”) (Any Napoleon Dynamite fans out there? No? Ok, moving along…) It’s true though – everything is optional at Family Camp, and we put lots of options on the table, so there is something for everyone as you choose your own adventure.
Now, we do recommend that you eat at least 3 meals a day… And sleep is good! Other than that, the general flow of the day usually involves heading to family worship after breakfast, then breaking out to ClubCove, CrossWalk, etc. while the adults stay in the main session with the speaker.
Everyone reconnects for lunch, then spends the afternoon free time doing all sorts of activities together. Enough that I should write another email about just the activities. After dinner there is more ClubCove and CrossWalk, grown ups can attend an evening service (or just wander around marveling at what it is like to be free of children) and then we have some special fun activities each night to round out the day.
Families come to Sandy Cove with unique needs, so we invite you to make your week the best it can be for you!
“Good food, and plenty of it!” has been the standard since Sandy Cove began in 1946, and Family Camp is not about to depart from that. Three square meals (OK, probably a little beyond square…) a day are served buffet style in the Water’s Edge Dining Room, with food your whole family will enjoy. If someone in your family has food allergies or other dietary restrictions, we can help! We have a process in place so you can let us know if they are vegetarian, gluten free, allergic to nuts, or whatever, and then our kitchen staff will serve them food they can eat.
So imagine being able to wander down the hall each day, fill your plate with good food that you did not have to cook, and enjoy mealtime around the table with your family. Then imagine finishing your conversation, coffee and dessert, and heading for the next activity without having to clean up!
It’s reason #137 why moms and dads are never ready to go home on Fridays!
That’s a definite maybe! We know that Family Camp is a great value when you add up everything that is included, but recognize that you still have to make your family budget work. Here are a few options that would make Dave Ramsey proud…
1. Camping – We talked last email about how camping and cooking for yourself is an option, and it comes with a lower price point too. See more here.
2. First timer discount – We will take 50% off the lodge package if this is your first time to family camp, just to get you here so you can discover for yourself how great it is! Save 50%
3. Family max – Even after you are not a first timer anymore, the most you will pay for is 4 family members! If you have 6 or 7 people in your family, you know how quickly costs multiply when you go anywhere else – but not here!
4. Scholarships – Life happens, we get it… You can apply for a need-based scholarship here, to give you the boost you need to get here. About scholarships.
5. Single parents – There is a special fund supported by donors who want to see single parents and their families come to Family Camp for support, encouragement, and fun! Details are here.
6. Operation Oasis – Families with mom or dad returning from recent overseas deployment get to come to Family Camp for FREE! That is a pretty good price – and there are no strings attached! This is 100% underwritten by people who want to see your family reconnect well. Apply here.
Ha! And that is not really a question…
But yes, if you peek at the daily schedule you will see “Spaghetti Time” almost every day. This does not mean we have run out of good ideas for lunch – it refers to the question “How do you know when spaghetti is done?” and the answer “Throw it against the wall, and see if it sticks!”
So here at Sandy Cove, spaghetti time follows the message and is simply time set aside to think through, process and apply what God might be trying to say to us. The speakers provide us with questions as discussion starters or journaling prompts, the kids are still off at ClubCove and CrossWalk, and there is an hour when the “noise” of normal life is turned down and it is easier to listen and see what “sticks.”
By the end of the week, many guests are as excited about spaghetti as we are!
That’s what I am wondering too! I’ve tried to talk through the highlights to help you see that Family Camp could be a better vacation option for your family, and hopefully by now you have thought about the 50% off for first timers, clicked the button, and I’ll see you this summer. Usually what happens is parents come up to me on Thursday nights between the sunset and s’mores and say something like “I know you said this was going to be good, but we had NO idea!!!” And I just smile…
So, if you have any other questions I can help with, please let me know, and I will get them answered.
Otherwise, Happy (Family) Camping!
I’ll tell you a little about myself, just to help you know where I am coming from. My name is Nate, and I have been married to Evelyn for 22 years. For the past few years she has been directing The Marsh, Sandy Cove's summer day camp for kids in the local community, and works in our local public libraries the rest of the year. We have two boys – Caleb is in college and has been a lifeguard here in the summers, and TJ was a counselor at the Marsh this year. Oh, and we have a black lab named Edith!
I’ve been working at Sandy Cove for almost 15 years. Before that I was at camps in Michigan, including one where I guided wilderness trips for juvenile delinquents. Working with them was one of the major motivations to get involved in family camps – to see families becoming strong and healthy instead of increasingly dysfunctional.
So that’s me – you can introduce yourself when you get here next summer ;)
And if you think of any other questions, please email me so I can add them to the list! firstname.lastname@example.org